A performance is held at the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar to celebrate the New Year in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 31, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)
China urges the United States to stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion, according to a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Wednesday.
Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press conference when responding to a question on the words of Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, slandering China's measures regarding Muslims.
Certain people in the United States have repeatedly made wanton accusations and rumors, attempting to undermine China's ethnic harmony and interfere in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religious freedom, Zhao said. "We firmly oppose that."
"The Chinese government protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief and people of all ethnic groups in China enjoy full freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law," Zhao said.
Currently there are about 24,400 mosques in Xinjiang, or one for every 530 Muslims, Zhao said. "The number of mosques in the United States is less than one-tenth of that in Xinjiang."
According to poll results released by Gallup and Pew Research Center, about 42 percent of Americans say they are very concerned about race relations, and 75 percent of Muslims in the U.S. believe there is serious discrimination against them, Zhao said.
"I advise this ambassador-at-large in charge of 'religious freedom' affairs to get more knowledge about truth and have more respect for others, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion," said the spokesperson.